Are you a LinkedIn cheerleader? 

Working with one of my students on LinkedIn interactivity, I  recently discovered a new type of LinkedIn user. He or she is what I call a “cheerleader.”

I was teaching Bryan how to find industry leaders in medical administration, folks who are using LinkedIn to share stories and information.

My student, a Marine, wants to return home to New England to continue his work as a human resources leader. In an online coaching session, we looked at ways to increase his virtual visibility.

Using the LinkedIn search tools, we put in human resources and Boston.

LinkedIn immediately generated some quick results.

The first person we found didn’t have any activity shown for the past 90 days. That was what I would call a page holder. She put up a page with some resume stuff about her work, but there wasn’t any details. My guess? Her social media team asked her to compile a profile, and she has neglected it since she first put up.

These kind of pages remind me of that Geico TV ad where the gecko goes into an attic and finds the tiny dancer. Halfway through, the lizard discovers the creepy people and wants to move on. I’m like the green advertising icon. When I see nothing there, I move on.

Next, during our coaching session, we found some others with some limited activity, but it was either a like of another’s person profile activity. If their friend got a promotion or a new job, they would respond with the usual generic “Congrats….”message.

These kind of social media users are like your typical high school cheerleader standing on their team’s sideline after a player made a great play.

While they show some activity on their profile, these are not the people who will actively respond to a connection request.

When I see cheerleaders like this, I want to send them this YouTube link with the message to not act like Craig the SNL cheerleader. In a classic line from this skit, he noted “I’m glad that my summer life guarding job is over. I didn’t enjoy taking off my shirt.” Truthfully, a lot of these cheerleaders want something safe, so writing a congrats note is how they keep feeling safe about their LinkedIn outreach.

Finally after several profile searches, we found a person who had an active profile with an article on a topic related to their field. It was well written and the author was passionate about family child care practices.

This kind of article I told Bryan would be something to comment upon and share with the author.

Sitting in his car in Hawaii, while we working through this interactivity exercise, I could see Bryan thinking of ways to personally comment on this article.

Still, I find a lot of LinkedIn newcomers, especially military professionals in transition are like someone’s Scaredy Cat. They have topics that they are passionate about but lack the courage to do more than just like something written by others. Or, respond with the “Congrats” message provided by LinkedIn or Facebook. Like the tabby in this photo, I think they like the comfort of hiding under their owner’s bed covers.


Let me share a simple way to start making meaningful comments. If someone you know on LinkedIn has a new job or completed college, I’d start with a message like: “Hey Bryan, congrats on your new job. I hope that you will do wonders in your new position.”

That’s a good start, but wouldn’t something that is taken from a person’s profile such as their college, favorite team or non-profit interest be a second thing to add to a message. Wouldn’t a message such as “Do you think the Red Sox will win the World Series this year?” make for an even better response by combining the first comment with a tieback to Bryan’s favorite baseball team.

Kelly, another one of my Military Transition Roundtable students, is someone who is finding her voice to make a meaningful comment. When another project manager posted an post about a book he was reading, she recently responded with: “Christopher, I read it almost twice a week while studying for my PMP. It was refreshing how different it was.”

LinkedIn is well known for its job search aspects, but it’s the networking activity for simple outreach like this that will make you, the LinkedIn user build awareness and add stronger followership.

Bryan recently told me that he has accepted a job working for a major hospital system.  Did his outreach and effort helped him?  I think he would tell you that it helped him get the informational reconnaissance he needed to build rapport to get the inside track on his new job.